Category Archives: Motivation

Are You Asking the Right Questions?

This post goes back to my last post on transition, change and the the Clinical Health Coach course that I attended. I want to get more into Motivational Interviewing, how it works and how it can help you in the workplace, at home and it even works great with teenagers!

now-thats-a-good-question1Motivational interviewing is defined as “person-centered counseling style for addressing the common problem of ambivalence about change” – or in my words, it’s all about how you ask a question to get the desired outcome that is a collaborative effort to elicit a specific goal.

So, let’s talk about an example of this; maybe someone tells you their goal is to make more money so they can retire in 5 years. Great goal, right? Well, it could be if there is a clear cut plan based on SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timed) goals.

Some people may want to ask, why is this important to you, which is relevant, but I might ask; What steps have you taken to ensure this will happen? Maybe they have taken steps, maybe they haven’t. To keep the conversation going you could say, “Tell me what has been working for you so far”. This keeps the conversation focused on the positives.

When you ask the WHAT’s it is not as simple as a yes or no question. You can also say, Tell ME MORE, or IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE?  If the person hasn’t put much thought into it, I would ask another open ended question to see if they have really thought this goal out. The key to motivational interviewing have to do with this entire process:

  1. Ask the open ended questions to keep the conversation moving
  2. Affirm the strengths, efforts and character and worth
  3. Reflect upon what your client, employee, child, etc. says to keep focused on them and convey understanding and empathy
  4. Summarize the big picture at the end and transition to the task at hand

I have found myself using this with my personal training clients, trying to get more answers from my children, and even coaching clients and my children on how to get the answers and desired outcomes they are seeking from others. Take some time. Think about how you ask your questions and how you can get more out of your clients, employees, family, whoever it is!

Be happy. Be healthy. And ask GREAT questions!

Transition Versus Change

Recently I had the opportunity to take part in a 2 day conference put on by Iowa Chronic Care Consortium. We covered topics from Motivational Interviewing, to Personality Traits and types, to how to work with different types of people. This training was very enlightening to me and really made me stop and think of now only how I communicate with my clients, but with my family and friends as well. One topic that I want to focus on today is the Bridges Transition Model.  sharon-neal-the-challenge-of-leading-change-10-638

This model deals with change and a different way of approaching the subject. Sometimes, as we all know, change can be viewed as a negative the outcome being final. This model focuses more on the transition of change and every person knowing their roll. The process is as follows:

  1. Purpose – explain the purpose behind the outcome that is seeked. People must understand the logic prior to turning their minds to work on it.
  2. Picture – make sure your team knows what the painted picture of the outcome looks like. The need to experience the outcome imaginatively before giving their hearts to the outcome is vital.
  3. Plan – lay out the step-by-step plan for phasing in the final outcome. There must be clear idea and each member of your team needs to understand their specific roll.
  4. Part – delegate a part for each person to play in the outcome of the desired change. This is a tangible way for contribution and participation for your team.

Between different personality types and the natural reaction of resistance to change, receiving the desired outcome is not always an easy path. But with clear purpose, picture, plan and part, this transition can be reached in a manner that is acceptable to all team members.

The Bridges Transition Model can be used in business, family and health. Prior to your next change, take a step back and try to put these tools to use and have everyone who will be affected by the change involved.

Be happy. Be healthy and don’t fear the change, plan for it!

Do You Hide Behind Your Screen?

Call me old school if you want, but I love a phone call (not a text), a meeting for coffee (not an email) or hand shake (not an emoji). Now don’t get me wrong, I love my technology andhiding-behind-computer I love the ease and quickness it can provide, but as the mother of teenagers, I am seeing a terrible trend – the inability to talk to one another face to face!

Forbes posted an article with 4 times never to send an email. They are:

  1. When you are mad.
  2. When you are rebuking or criticizing.
  3. If there is a chance your words can be misunderstood.
  4. When you are canceling or apologizing.

I think it goes even deeper than that. It is so easy for words to get lost in translation. It is the whole idea of human relations. I crave human interaction and I think most people do. But watching my kids sit at table and text each other when they can just talk instead bothers me. Or if you send a message and if someone doesn’t want to answer you (even though your iMessage said they read it), they don’t have to.

When you sit across the table from someone and look them in the eye it can tell you a lot about that person. Body language and facial expression can tell a story before a person even opens their mouth. Even if you are on the phone talking to someone, the inflection in their voice can do the same.

If you have been guilty of hiding behind the screen because it is easy, take some time to think about it. How could a phone call or a face-to-face meeting positively impact you or the person you are conversing with? Technology is great, but human interaction is better. Don’t hide anymore!

Be happy. Be healthy. And don’t hide behind your screen.

Aye Aye Captain

Recently my oldest daughter was nominated to be one of the captains of her swim team, 57848683which is AWESOME. But, to me, what makes it even better is that she was nominated by her teammates. This was the first year the girls had a say  in who was to be the captain. They were given the following categories to choose from:

  1. Kind
  2. Hardworking
  3. Supportive
  4. Trustworthy
  5. Respectful
  6. Motivated
  7. Spirited
  8. Vocal
  9. Positive Attitude
  10. Inspiring

After this process, I started thinking about how this would apply to the work place. Where would my past managers or supervisors fit into this? Where did I fit into this as an employee? Where do YOU fit into this right now in your current position?

You see, the captain may not always be the absolute best swimmer on the swim team, or the fastest runner on the track team. But a captain can do so much more. The captain picks you up when you are down. The captain brings you energy when you may not have any. The captain does things behind the scenes that most people on the team have no idea are being done.

A captain leads by example. A captain is humble and thankful for the position. A captain is someone you can count on to be there in both good and bad times.

A captain isn’t just on a sport team or a ship, but there are captains all over your workplace. Maybe they are rewarded financially or with a title or status. Maybe you have a silent captain. What is important is that no matter your roll in whatever you do, possessing those 10 attributes above can take you a long way.

Be happy. Be healthy and be the captain of your own ship!



Have you ever asked anyone for help? Has anyone ever asked you for help? If you are the 7030402_origasking person, what has the reaction been from others? If you are the asker, what kind of response do others give you?

If someone asks you for help do you:

  1. Jump right in and say, “What can I do?”
  2. Roll your eyes and wonder why are they asking me (or secretly trying to hide so you don’t get asked because you can’t say no)?
  3. Tell a little white lie and make an excuse why you can’t help?

Whether you are in the workplace, home or even an event in which you are needed to volunteer, I feel your reaction says a lot about your personality type.  There are many traits that you display on a daily basis that lets others know what type of personality you might have. Are you positive? Are you genuine? Are you helping for the right reasons, meaning you don’t expect anything in return.

When I am asked to help, if there is no reason I can’t do it, I help. Over the years I have learned that generally people don’t like to ask for help unless they really need it. I also have learned that you never know when you may need help of your own. So if you do things for the right reasons, good things will come back full circle.

So the next time someone asks you for help, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is there any reason I cannot physically (or time constraint) do what is asked of me?
  2. Would the person ask me for help if they didn’t really need it?
  3. Is what is being asked of me a reasonable request?

If you answered yes to any or all of them, HELP is what you are ready to do. Help someone today. Pay good fortune forward because you never know when you will need some help of your own.

Be Happy! Be Healthy! And HELP others!

College, The Next Chapter…

My son, Griffin.

Oh boy, did I have a life changing weekend. You see, I am the mom of 4 (if you don’t already know that), and I moved my oldest into college at the University of Iowa. Some parents look forward to this day with great pride. Some parents can’t wait to get their teenager out of the house. Some parents flat out dread the emptiness that will be in their home. For me, it was all of the above.

I remember when I left for college and my mother and I hugged and cried. Every time my first year of college that I came home, we did it all over. I used to make fun of my mom for that, and now I totally get it. But then I really started to think about what it means to be a good parent. The skills we can give, teach and receive are endless:

  1.  Unconditional Love
  2.  Work ethic
  3. Sense of family
  4. How to be humble
  5. Study habits

And the list can go on….. The one gift that I hope I have instilled the most is how to be kind. The grades that I earned in college were important (well, maybe not my first semester freshman year when my only good grade was in having a good time according to my parents), but to be genuine and kind are characteristics that will take anyone a long way.

So to all you parents out there who are feeling what I am feeling now, have felt this feeling int he past, or dread this feeling in the future, take the time to lead by example. Take the time to tell your kids you love and appreciate them. And, according to my son who didn’t think I said it, take the time to tell them that you will miss them and that you will always be there for them, and home won’t be the same without them here.

Be Happy, Healthy and Kind


family_logoWhat does family mean to you? It means EVERYTHING to me and I would do anything for them. I was reminded of this once again this past weekend when we had our annual Dell’Aquila Family reunion at my parents farm. We had cousins that came from near and far to sweat it out and eat until we couldn’t eat another bite, but then it really got me thinking; I have many different types of family in my life.

1. Blood family – this is the family that whether we want them or not, they are part of us. It may not always be pretty with this group, but they are ours!

2. Neighbors – we spend a lot of time with some neighbors (maybe too much). During this time we get to know about them, about their blood family, their kids, their struggles and their victories.

3. Work – if you work in an office, or travel with co-workers, you probably spend more time with your work family than the one you go home to every night. These are the people that listen to us, 100% get our struggles in the office, and share many life events with us as well.

4. Sports – with my 4 children, I have met so many families through my kids sports. During this time, I feel like I have inherited many many children, and many many sisters and brothers. These families spread near and far and are ALWAYS there for you. These are your best friends for life!

Take a moment. Think about the people you have in your life now and the people who have just passed through. How many different people can you add to your family tree. I think I have a forrest, and I am going to keep adding to it!

Stay active, healthy and love your family!


I really, really like sports. I like working towards something, a goal. I like trying to win something, healthy competition. I like watching and I like participating. Anyone else?!? Sport.jpg_1772603904

What is it that draws us to sports? Wikipedia describes sport as “is all forms of usually competitive physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing entertainment to participants, and in some cases, spectators. For me I like to watch most sports because:

  • 1. I appreciate all the work that goes into being a competitive athlete
  • 2. I admire the passion and perseverance to compete
  • 3. I enjoy anything that promotes physical activity and movement
  • 4. I like to find a good story that can be told that we may not have heard otherwise

Today I was reading about Jamaal Charles and I learned he had his first shot at sport in the Special Olympics because of a several learning disability. He has gone on to win a National Championship in college, to become an academic all-american and one of the NFL’s finest running backs. You don’t even have to be a sports fan to appreciate a good story, but for me it is icing on the cake.

Most of us watch some sort of sport daily (sometimes by default, especially with summer tv). Many of us play fantasy sports, intramural sports, recreational sports, watch our kids play sports. Let’s face it, sport is everywhere. So whether you love sport or hate sport, it is everywhere and it is here to stay. Find a good story out of it. Learn a life lesson from it. But most of all, sit back and enjoy the art of the game and the athleticism, no matter what game it is.

Stay active and sport on!

You Don’t Have to Run

no runningThose of you who are reading this that know me are thinking – yeah right, yes we do! But, I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to run if you don’t want to, no matter what anyone tells you.

If you are like me, you run for more than just fitness. Below are several reasons I run:

  1. I can do it anywhere
  2. It helps me clear my head
  3. I love the nice line in my legs I get (you who run know what I’m talking about)
  4. I absolutely LOVE being outside

With all that being said, I have had some pretty nasty injuries the last couple years and have had to remind myself that there are lots of other ways to train and get results. For instance:

  • Cross-trainers  – of course my favorite is the Octane
  • Tabata training – which is a burst of work followed by short recovery
  • Kettlebells – good change from traditional strength training
  • Suspension training – anything that adds core strength to every move is GREAT
  • Interval training – can be done on a cross trainer, bike, treadmill

So, if you want to run go for it. But if you don’t want to run you don’t have to. The bottom line is that being active and leading a healthy lifestyle is the best thing you can do for yourself. If you want to lose weight, you still have to burn more calories than you are consuming. If you want to get strong, you still need to do some type of resistance training. And if you want to be live a long, healthy life, you must practice a healthy lifestyle that consists of eating healthy (most of the time), and being active.

Stay active and keep moving!



Everyday we change just a little bit. How do you deal with change? Do you embrace it? Do you despise it? How about you OWN IT!

Be-The-Change-Logo-NEWIt is inevitable that we will have many changes throughout life. We get older, our kids grow up, we may even start to see some gray hairs or wrinkles (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything). The hands of time aren’t going to stop moving just because we want them to, so maybe it’s time to change your attitude. Below are a few quote and a few links to some great articles about personal growth and change:

For me change has begun with the way that I say something. For instance, instead of saying, “that’s not too bad,” which ends with a negative connotation, I will say, “that’s pretty good.” Pay attention to what you say, how you say it, and what is the last word you are choosing at the end of your sentence.

Change in life, love, fitness, attitude, in everything, starts with you. Remember it’s inevitable, so go with it. Embrace what each day brings and “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”Mahatma Gandhi